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Storm players mentor Indigenous youth

Date posted: Wednesday 18 May 2011

A group of Melbourne Storm Players will be taking a quick break away from the field in a bid to encourage young Aboriginal men to make positive life choices. 

The players, in conjunction with the Bert Williams Aboriginal Youth Service and LifeWorks Relationship Counselling, will be presenting a program titled ‘Respectful Relationships’ to a group of eight young Indigenous men.

The delivery of the program will be assessed as part of the players’ Certificate IV in Youth Work at Swinburne University of Technology.

Program convener, Melinda Eason is confident that the program will provide positive role modelling to the participants. “The sessions with the Indigenous youth include one on one discussions, and both individual and group activities as well as building a professional relationship with the players,” she said.

The aim of the program is to promote health and well being to Indigenous youth. “We want to teach these young men that you can become anything and that there are different directions in life you can take,” Eason said. She believes that the underlining message that she hopes the program to endorse is that “people connecting and respecting one another is the basis for a better community.” 

The course provides accredited training for Indigenous Australians aged 16 to 25, who wish to develop their skills in order to access further education, training or employment. The youth involved are predominantly participants of Swinburne’s Mumgu-dhal tyama-tiyt course which translates as ‘message stick of knowledge’.

Melbourne Storm players will undertake peer mentoring training and on-the-job supervision that will be delivered by LifeWorks and Swinburne. Eason believes that the Melbourne Storm players are able to experience role modelling first hand and do something concrete away from sport. “It encourages them to use their mental strength as opposed to their physical strength,” she said.

‘Storming Against Violence’, a collaborative program that ran last year, was based on a similar concept. Melbourne Storm players visited three secondary schools in Melbourne’s north to promote healthy relationships and create awareness of the unacceptability of violence against women and children. This successful program, set to continue this year, was structured as part of the assessment for Certificate III in Community Services (Youth Work) also offered by Swinburne. 

The ‘Respectful Relationships’ program will begin on 8 June.



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